reviews

  • Joan Brown

    Hansen-fuller-goldeen Gallery And University Art Museum

    Joan Brown’s most provocative paintings transform her own experiences into subject matter that seems universally significant. Originally part of the Bay Area figurative movement, Brown bypassed some of the self-indulgence that afflicted many of the other California artists who shared her autobiographical inclinations. Perhaps it was the risks she took as a painter that gave her work more meaning; she boldly pursued stylistic and formal questions in conjunction with the exploration of personal imagery. Whether it was the juxtaposition of two-dimensional decorative pattern against three-dimensional

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  • Jack Fulton

    San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art

    Jack Fulton’s narratives exist in the form of synthetic photographs; snapshot-styled images to which written puns, diaristic meanderings, paint, and collage have been added to black-and-white or color photographs. Fulton’s work germinated through his 1960s friendships with Funk artists. He adapted the eccentric personalism of William Wiley and the material playfulness of Robert Hudson to the photographic medium. Notations, either handwritten in the margins or snaking across the image in a deliberately awkward fashion, employ Joycean free association, phony phonetics (Peas on urth, civil-eyes-notion)

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  • Raymond Saunders

    Stephen Wirtz Gallery

    Raymond Saunders’ recent mixed-media works are fragmented reiterations of childhood memories, recent travels and black heritage. The strongest aspect of this work is the drawing. A repertoire of peculiar characters, some shaded in color, others with their faces partially scratched or masked, inhabit these pieces. At first glance they seem naive or childlike, but they do project eccentric and sometimes menacing personas reminiscent of George Grosz or Richard Lindner. The sketches are juxtaposed with found articles: illustrated pages from old nursery rhymes, school time cards, and words and numerals

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  • Nancy Blanchard

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

    Nancy Blanchard’s recent performance piece is the sort of event that leads one to do some serious thinking afterward, though not necessarily about the piece, which was called I Learned It At School, and billed as a tableaux theatre event.

    The major problem, and one over which the artist had very little control, was the location, Herbst Theatre, a standard proscenium stage with a large house, plush seats, etc. Because the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is eliminating its current performance space, Blanchard’s piece, which was presented by the museum, had to take place elsewhere. The Herbst

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  • Masashi Matsumoto

    Lawson De Celle Gallery

    All too often, an elusive figure bites the dust upon close examination. En route to see recent work by Masashi Matsumoto I hoped this wouldn’t happen, and was pleasantly reassured at the sight of 15 works using the door imagery which the artist made highly visible in a San Francisco billboard in 1977.

    Matsumoto is something of a legend in certain circles. Mysterious sentences attributed to him have turned up on broadsides and in museum exhibition catalogues (in Tom Garver’s 1974 New Photography in San Francisco and the Bay Area, at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, he is quoted, “You are

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